WCHS grad Adams to be inducted into IGCA Softball Hall of Fame

Fort Dodge head coach owns 659 career victories

WCHS graduate and Fort Dodge softball coach Andi Adams (left) will be inducted into the IGCA Softball Hall of Fame next July. Messenger file photo/Britt Kudla

FORT DODGE — Andi Adams admits she shed a few tears when the Iowa Girls Coaching Association called to say she will be inducted into the state’s Softball Hall of Fame this coming summer.

The raw emotion didn’t come from personal glory or individual satisfaction, though. Instead, the winningest coach in Fort Dodge Senior High history immediately turned her attention to an unwavering support system and the people who have filled her 20-plus year coaching career with life and love.

“Relationships,”Adams said succinctly. “That’s what it’s all about. I’ve learned so much about myself and the sport through the years, but nothing is more important than the trust you build with the kids, their families, and the community you coach in.

“I look at my refrigerator, filled with Christmas cards from former players, pictures of their children and ‘save the date’ (notifications). I go through my phone and see text messages about so much more than just softball. And I think about my own family and the sacrifices they’ve made for me through the years. I’m just blessed beyond words, in ways wins or championships could never match. And so when I got this call, I was flooded with those feelings. They built this. This is about them, and for our community.”

Adams will be honored on July 27 at Waukee High School during the IGCA softball all-star series. Since 1985, a total of 72 coaches have been recognized. Adams will be just the seventh woman to join the state’s Softball Hall of Fame ranks.

Andi Adams (center) is already a Hall of Fame member at Webster City High School and Buena Vista University. Messenger file photo/Britt Kudla

“I won’t shy away from the responsibility of being a (female head coach) in a world where it’s still difficult for women to sustain leadership,” Adams said. “It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to as I get older. Not only am I trying to help our program succeed on behalf of all the girls and women who have been knocked down and told they can’t do it, but I also want to guide a new wave of females who hopefully get into coaching and teaching and stay there for the right reasons.

“It isn’t easy for them, but my goal is to be a voice, a role model, and hopefully even an inspiration. (Iowa Girls High School Executive Director) Jean Berger has really been a mentor for me when it comes to that, and I’m more aware of it now than ever before. I want to make both girls and women feel empowered by their actions and their accomplishments, even when the critics say it can’t be done on a (consistent basis).”

Andi (Royster) Adams, who grew up in Duncombe, was an all-state softball player at Webster City High School and an All-American at Buena Vista University. She is in the Hall of Fame at both schools.

Adams immediately entered the coaching ranks after graduating from BVU, accepting a co-head position at St. Edmond with Art Bagby. Adams took a teaching and coaching position at Eldora-New Providence the next summer, guiding the program to its first-ever state tournament appearance in 2000.

Adams was hired by then-Fort Dodge Senior High athletic director Don Miller to be the Dodgers’ head softball coach in 2001. Her decorated 19-year career at FDSH includes a record of 606-269, with nine state tournament appearances. She was named the Iowa Coach of the Year and Central Region National Coach of the Year in 2018.

The 43-year-old Adams, who will be one of the youngest Hall of Fame inductees in IGCA softball history, “still feels the magic when I step on to that dirt for a game or a practice.”

“It’s truly what I love to do,” said Adams, who currently sports an overall career record of 659-302 and is the third-winningest female softball coach in state history. “My passion for it has never wavered. And being at the high-school level is such an important stage in the development and maturity process of a young athlete, which is what I’m all about.”